15 Things to Do in Hastings, NE

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the charming city of Hastings, Nebraska?

Dating back to the 1870s, Hastings played a vital role in the development of the region, leaving behind a legacy that still resonates today.

Whether you’re a local resident or a curious traveler passing through, this vibrant city offers an array of exciting activities that cater to all interests.

From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious culinary delights, here are best 15 things you absolutely must do in Hastings, along with a sprinkle of intriguing history.

Things to Do in Hastings, NE

1. Immerse Yourself in History at the Hastings Museum

Hastings Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Hastings and the surrounding area through exhibits that delve into the region’s pioneer days, early settlement, and the impact of agriculture on the local economy. Learn about the challenges and triumphs of the community as it grew and evolved over the years.

So step back in time and uncover the captivating stories of the region at the Hastings Museum. Delve into the rich history of the area through engaging exhibits that showcase everything from fossils to Native American artifacts.

2. Stroll Through Brickyard Park

Brickyard Park in Hastings, Nebraska is a place where history and recreation intersect, providing a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

Take a leisurely walk in Brickyard Park, a serene oasis nestled in the heart of Hastings. Did you know that the park was once the site of a bustling brick factory, which played a significant role in the city’s development? Brickyard Park is not only a recreational haven but also a place where history comes alive.

3. Savor the Local Flavors at a Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Treat your taste buds to the freshest local produce and homemade goodies at one of Hastings’ charming farmers markets. Experience the vibrant colors and enticing aromas while supporting local farmers and artisans.

The Hastings Nebraska Highland Park Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. beginning June until fall. It provides a fantastic opportunity to support local growers and producers while enjoying fresh, locally sourced products.

4. Explore the Hastings Downtown Art Scene

Discover the vibrant arts community in Hastings by exploring the downtown area. Admire the colorful murals adorning the buildings and step inside art galleries to appreciate the talents of local artists.

One can find captivating public art installations throughout the downtown area. From sculptures to murals, these artistic expressions add color, vibrancy, and a sense of uniqueness to the cityscape.

5. Unwind at Lake Hastings

Lake Hastings

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful day at Lake Hastings. This beautiful reservoir offers boating, fishing, and picnicking opportunities, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery.

So pack a delicious lunch or grab some takeout from a local eatery and head to Lake Hastings for a relaxing picnic. Find a shaded spot near the water, spread out a blanket, and enjoy a leisurely meal while taking in the tranquil views.

6. Visit the Hastings College Campus

students at university

The history of Hastings College dates back to its founding in 1882. The college was established by a group of early settlers in Hastings, Nebraska, who recognized the importance of education in their growing community. Originally known as the “Nebraska Institute,” the institution started as a preparatory school to provide students with a solid foundation for higher education.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Hastings College, a prestigious educational institution with a rich history. Take a walk around the campus, admire the stunning architecture, and soak up the collegiate ambiance.

7. Step Back in Time at the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History

The museum features permanent exhibits that showcase the natural and cultural history of the region. Explore exhibits on paleontology, geology, wildlife, and native cultures. Learn about the ancient past of Nebraska, discover fossils of prehistoric creatures, and gain insights into the geological formations that shaped the area.

Discover fascinating exhibits that highlight the area’s geological wonders and the cultural heritage of its people.

You can find the museum at 1330 N Burlington Ave, Hastings, NE 68901, USA.

8. Get Active at a Local Park

People playing frisbee

Hastings boasts an impressive array of parks and green spaces. Grab a frisbee and enjoy a game of disc golf at Libs Park. Libs Park is a serene and picturesque park situated along the banks of the Little Blue River.

Or you could have a picnic and let the kids run wild at Chautauqua Park. Located in the heart of downtown Hastings, Chautauqua Park is a historic park with a rich heritage. It is home to the Chautauqua Pavilion, which was built in 1907 and serves as a venue for community events and gatherings.

9. Indulge in Local Cuisine

Treat your taste buds to the unique flavors of Hastings by exploring its diverse culinary scene. From cozy diners serving up comfort food to trendy eateries offering farm-to-table delicacies, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

One iconic local dish you must try in Hastings is the Runza. It is a savory pastry filled with seasoned ground beef, onions, and cabbage, all baked inside a delicious bread pocket. The Runza has become synonymous with Nebraska comfort food and is a must-try for tourists.

10. Attend a Riveting Performance at the Hastings Community Theatre

Theatre performance on the stage

At the Hastings Community Theatre, you can enjoy a vibrant and diverse array of performing arts productions. The theater serves as a cultural hub for the community, showcasing the talents of local actors, directors, and technicians.

Immerse yourself in the world of performing arts at the Hastings Community Theatre. Enjoy captivating plays, musicals, and live performances that showcase the talents of local actors and performers.

11. Learn about the History of Railroads at the Hastings Railroad Museum

The Hastings Railroad Museum has a fascinating history intertwined with the development of rail transportation in the region. The museum is located in the historic Burlington Northern Depot, which itself has a storied past.

The depot was constructed in 1903 by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad as a central hub for train operations in Hastings. It served as a vital link in the transportation network, facilitating the movement of people, goods, and resources throughout the area.

The depot’s strategic location played a significant role in the growth and prosperity of Hastings and the surrounding communities.

12. Take a Relaxing Stroll on the Adams County Fairgrounds

Adams County Fairgrounds

The story of Adams County Fairgrounds dates back to the late 19th century when the fair was first organized to promote agricultural excellence in the region.

Enjoy a leisurely walk through the Adams County Fairgrounds and take in the sights and sounds of this iconic venue. The fairgrounds host a variety of events throughout the year, including the annual Adams County Fair. Make sure you check their program in advance.

13. Tee off at a Scenic Golf Course

People playing golf

The Scenic Golf Course is located in Hastings, Nebraska, nestled in the heart of the beautiful rolling hills of Adams County. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by picturesque landscapes at one of Hastings’ well-maintained golf courses. Take in the serene views and challenge yourself on the fairways and greens, all while embracing the fresh air.

Its address is 4225 W 12th St, Hastings, NE 68901.

14. Experience Hastings’ Annual Kool-Aid Days Festival

Hastings' Annual Kool-Aid Days Festival

The Kool-Aid Days Festival pays homage to the invention of Kool-Aid, which was created in Hastings by Edwin Perkins in 1927. The festival offers a unique opportunity to experience the history, culture, and flavors associated with this beloved beverage. It showcases the community’s pride in its role as the birthplace of Kool-Aid and brings people together for a weekend of fun-filled activities.

Join in the fun at the Kool-Aid Days Festival, an annual celebration of the iconic drink invented in Hastings. Enjoy live music, games, contests, and of course, refreshing cups of Kool-Aid in various flavors.

15. Discover Local History at the Hastings Public Library


The library is not just a resource for the local community but also serves as a cultural and educational hub for visitors to the city. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to read, access to Wi-Fi, or information about the local area, the library offers a range of services and resources to cater to your needs.

Whether you’re seeking a quiet space to relax, engage with literature, or learn more about the community, the Hastings Public Library is a welcoming destination for tourists. So, don’t hesitate to stop by, explore the shelves, connect with the local culture, and immerse yourself in the literary world of Hastings.

Opening hours are from Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 8 pm and on Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hastings Nebraska famous for?

Hastings, Nebraska, is famous for being the birthplace of Kool-Aid, offering a high quality of life to its residents, and hosting the Hastings Museum.

What county is Hastings NE in?

Hastings, Nebraska, is located in Adams County.

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